Lieutenant Hank Anderson is late. Again. Connor does not need to access his psychology platform to know that this will be a reoccurring theme with that man. An observant person would take one look around the room and notice how unconcerned the other officers are of Hank’s absence. This is a common routine.
Connor tries to busy himself while he waits for Hank. He starts with learning what he could gleam from the lieutenant’s desk. The only new thing he learns is that the lieutenant needs a diet change, likes death metal, has a dog and can’t keep a plant alive. Everything else he sees on Hank’s desk was in the briefing CyberLife investigators gave him.
With nothing left to learn, Connor directs his inquiry to those around him.
Every human ignores him as he slowly walks the room. Connor doesn’t mind, it gives him an opportunity to observe them. He updates the profiles CyberLife gave him on them. Mostly trivial things his handlers will likely dismiss as unimportant.
When the humans no longer hold his interest, he turns his focus to the room around him. He counts the exits, where every fire extinguisher, smoke alarm and coffee machine is. He counts the floor titles and windows.
All this was done in the matter of seconds. A lifetime for a android with the processing power Connor has. And what does Connor learn from all this? Apparently even a machine can be bored.
Connor is tempted to contact Amanda again. But after the last report, it might be best to wait till he has some good news. The interrogation of the abused Deviant was fruitless. And the loss of the Deviant with the child embarrassing. The disappointment that crossed Amanda’s face was not lost on Connor, it matched his own expression when he reported in.
With nothing left to do, Connor pulls out a quarter from his pocket. He lets it glide effortlessly across his knuckles in an attempt of distraction. He’ll do better next time. He has too.
Movement to his left draws his attention. An Android returns to its unit, face expressionless. It joins the others there in uniform stillness, awaiting their next tasking.
Connor pockets the quarter and mimics them. He removes all expression from his face and rests his arms by his side. No one seems to notice or care enough to.
But he can’t seem to keep still for long and the quarter is back dancing between his knuckles. Maybe it’s because unlike those androids, his tasking has not yet been completed.
“Well shit. Yesterday wasn’t some fucked up dream. You really are here.” Hank’s groggy voice cuts through Connor’s thoughts.
Joke. “You often dream of androids Lieutenant?” Hank pulls back a bit, a breathy ‘huh’ escaping his mouth. Connor reads the expression as one of disbelief. But the slight curve of his mouth indicates Connor made the right choice.
“I said the dream was fucked up, didn’t I?” There is no heat in his words. Connor’s social platform picks up on the amusement in his tone.
Hank does a showy yawn before he lumbers over to his desk. He flops down in the chair as if he had just used the last of his energy. With his documented aversion towards androids, it might just take all his energy in tolerating Connor.
“I have searched through the call center and organized a list of possible Deviant sightings.” Connor swings his chair to face Hank.
“You what now?”
“I listened to all calls made in the past nine months to the call center.”
“Yes? Nine months was when the first Deviant was reported.” Communication platform indicates that Connor should measure his tone calmly and evenly for best comprehension when explaining important data. But not too much as to insult Hank’s intelligence. “Deviants are relatively new and people might not have known what they were seeing. Knowing what we know now, I thought we might pick up a new lead.” Hank crosses his arms over his chest in a sign of annoyance. “Or find a pattern that might have been missed.”
“And?” Hank is unmoved by the enthusiasm Connor put into his voice.
“There have been seven calls from a Henrietta Kelly about seeing Deviants this month alone. She made one just last night. And so did three of her neighbors. She has a history of making several such calls but not the neighbors. It’s not much but it’s better than nothing.”
“Connor, that is nothing. The very definition of nothing. I’m not going on some wild goose chase all over this God dammed city!”
“The building the Deviant was seen at is near your favorite bar. If it turns out to be nothing. Drinks are on me.” That got Hank’s attention. Nodding in agreement he moves to stand. But suddenly he stops.
“What’s my favorite bar?” His voice is accusatory and suspicious.
“Any bar.” A bark of laugh erupts from the lieutenant. He looks as if to say something but decides against it. But the bemused smirk tells Connor the lieutenant might be warming up to him.
The address leads them to an older part of Detroit. In the golden days the neighborhood was home to the American Dream. Now the neighborhood is home to those forgotten and abandoned by progress.
They pull into a weathered driveway of an auto repair shop. A sign above the garage doors reads:
“Pryor Android And Robotics Repair. Family owned since 1976.” The shop definitely looks like it’s from the 1970’s. The days of auto repair went away with the electric car. This shop would have had to find some way to adapt to the market shift to stay profitable. Repairing androids seems logical.
“Come on. The sooner we do this, the sooner I get to drain your bank account.” Connor does not reply. The possibility of a lead has his full focus. “Do you even have a bank account?”
“I am a machine. I do not receive a salary so I have no use of a bank. CyberLife takes care of any payment in regards to my investigation.” Connor’s voice is clinical as he scans the area.
“How are you going to explain a bar tab?”
Truth. “I won’t have to if you stay within the $100 I was given.”
Hank rubs his hands together in glee. Well, in what Connor can only guess is glee. “But I’m not worried. I found traces of Thirium 310.” Connor touches the spot where his sensors pick up the luminous blue smears. There was an Android here and it was wounded. The trail goes down the sidewalk, west of here and leads to the fence that runs along the shop. From there the trail moves toward the side entrance of the garage.
Reconstruction shows that the Deviant was walking off balanced. They stopped at the fence, resting there before heading to the garage. The splatter on the fence and door suggest it is wounded on the left side of its torso.
At the side of the building it slammed their body against the side door until someone opened it. Then the trail leads up a set of iron stairs to an loft above the garage.
The condition of the Thirium 310 indicates that the substance was leaked a little over 12 hours ago. Which would put the Deviant here around 11 pm last night. Right when the calls came in.
“The Deviant is wounded and someone took them up to the loft. I see no indication it left.”
“Right.” Hank rubs his jaw. “Let me lead. Don’t want it to see you in that CyberLife suit.” Connor steps to the side to allow Hank up the stairs. He waits for there to be a comfortable distance before following. But a noise behind him halts his steps. A hooded figure comes around the wooden fence. They have not noticed Connor yet as they approach, allowing Connor to analyze them.
Slight limp. Possible injury to left leg.
No flesh cover on left hand. Malfunctioning system.
A bag over its shoulder. Full of Android arms and legs.
The Deviant is trying to repair itself.
It finally notices Connor and for a few seconds neither move.
In a flash the Deviant screams and tosses the bag of limbs at Connor. But their aim is sloppy and the bag slams against the wall with a loud thud. Connor easily swats away the limbs as they rain down around and takes off in pursuit. Hank shouts something but it is completely forgotten to the case.
The Deviant obviously knows it’s no match for Connor as they throw anything and everything they can at him as they flee.
It does a hard left behind a charred home and for a second Connor loses sight of them. As he turns the corner he sees a wooden crate flying for his head.
Catch. Connor catches the crate with ease and throws it back hard at the Deviant. The rotted wood shatters in an explosion of splinters as it makes contact with the Deviant’s back. It tumbles to the ground with a cry. Connor takes the advantage to pin the Deviant to the ground.
It tries to break his hold but they are hurt more than he assessed. There is about a three second delay between the movement of its torso and arms. This allows Connor to ready himself for the coming fist. He catches it with ease in one hand, his other hand pushes down hard on their opposite shoulder. Connor grips the wrist of the arm that threw the punch and pulls sharply up until he hears a pop.
“Holy fuck!” The Deviant cries in pain. It sounds so real Connor hesitates. “Get off me you ass!”
“Connor!” Hank shouts, gun drawn as he approaches. “You got it?” But does he? Connor is not so sure. He flips the Deviant on their back and pulls back the hood. White hair tumbles free and angry green eyes burn at him. Very human eyes.
Some days it doesn’t pay to get out of bed. For YorkThat day was yesterday and York is still recovering from it. She woke up then with a splitting headache and sore limbs. In her headache induced fog she burned her toast and her coffee had gone stale. Regardless she gulped down the coffee and crammed the bitter toast down her throat as she rushed for the bus. She barley caught it, her sore limbs and limp hampering her movements. But in the end she shouldn’t have bothered because the downtown area was shutdown by police.
Something about an android stealing a child.
Whatever the reason, it made her late to the preschool. She called ahead to warn them but she could still see their disapproval when she finally arrived. York is certain the only reason she keeps their business is due to her low, low prices.
After arriving York realized in her haste her lunch had been forgotten on the kitchen counter. Seeing no sense in kicking herself over it, York went straight to work, keeping an eye out for vending machines.
That days task was to clean paint off two androids and degumming a third. The gunk she found in between the joints both horrified and impressed her. Was anyone actually watching the little hellions?
The preschool doesn’t have a proper area for her to work, forcing her to clean them outside the loading dock. Thankfully it didn’t rain that day and the weather was pleasant. But the loading dock was a popular spot for those taking their smoke break. They kept their distance but she could feel their eyes on her. The smell of their cigarettes made her headache come back, motivating her to work faster.
When that was done she went to her second client at a diner. There she had to repair an android who somehow got its hand in the deep fryer. The greasy cooks were all grins and threw innuendos at the android as she worked in the cramp storage area. The android was silent the entire time. Just once she would love for it to punch those losers.
After repairing the hand, the android went back to serving tables. Never once did it react to her. She wondered if it had screamed.
When she finally got home she ate her forgotten lunch, room temperature sandwich is always fun. And went to the shop to check for messages and finish up salvaging parts.
But then something hit her door hard. When she opened it she saw a man clutching his side, his eyes were wide with terror. A weak ‘please’ came from his lips. She immediately helped him up to the loft to tend to him. It was also where her phone was.
Yet any call she would have made was forgotten when she saw the man in the light. What she thought was blood was in fact Thirium 310, blue blood. The man was an android. A HR400 in fact.
This android was not like those she had just worked on. Or like any android she ever worked on. This android did react to her. He was scared, shaking in fear. It took her soft coxing to get him to show her his wound.
If it wasn’t for the blue blood and yellow LED circle, York would have sworn she was dealing with a traumatized human. It was crying. She never knew they could do that. Why would CyberLife even add that feature?
The android said its name was Peter. He wouldn’t explain anything more about what happened. And she didn’t push him. She had to stop his bleeding.
The rest of the night was a blur. She didn’t sleep at all, not with the strange android in her home. York didn’t think Peter would hurt her but his eyes haunted her.
She woke up this morning to find Peter sleeping peacefully on her couch. Not wanting to wake him but also not wanting to stay, York took a chance and left. She wrote him a note saying she needs to run some errands and that she would be back soon.
But in reality she just needed to leave. Though, as she heads back home, going to the dump to pick up parts might not have been her best choice.
Did the androids she took apart actually feel something but where just unable to communicate it? Had she been tormenting them this whole time? These thoughts are what kept her up all night.
And they are currently distracting her from seeing the man by her shop that she almost ran into him. His face is strikingly handsome that she actually felt her jaw drop. Her cheeks warm with embarrassment as she can only imagine how unappealing she must look. But then she saw his jacket.
An android from CyberLife. Crap.
And she had a runaway android in her home. Double crap.
York panics and throws the bag of limbs at him. Her aim is embarrassingly off and she misses completely. The android isn’t even phased as the limbs fall around him. His intense eyes are fully focused on her.
Which is a terrible idea. It’s been years since she updated the sensors that connects her prosthetic limbs with her brain. Walking for a long time gives her headaches. Stairs take a lot of effort. Running? Pure torture.
Maybe this is karma claiming her due?
Because this android isn’t letting up. He paces her easily. Everything she tosses at him is either dodged or leaped over with a fluid grace.
If she survives this, she’ll cough up the money for the damn upgrade.
Around a sharp corner she sees a crate and without thinking she tosses it right as he rounds after her. For a split second she thought she finally has him. But he’s an android and is perfect so he easily caught it and serves it right back at her.
As the crate crashes into her retreating back, York can hear her father’s voice:
‘Never take into a fight what you’re not willing to eat.’
‘So, that’s what he meant.’ Is all York can think as she crumples to the ground. The android doesn’t relent. He slams his body down on her, pinning her. She struggles as panic sinks in. Getting one arm free she tries to punch him but he stops her fist with one hand. And with his other he shoves down hard on her shoulder, locking her in his grasp. He then grips her wrist and pulls up sharply, dislocating her arm.
“Holy fuck!” Not the most graceful thing to say but who cares. Pain blooms in her shoulder and spreads down her arm. The Android’s grip slacks a bit at her cry but he doesn’t let go. She tells him to get off but predictably he ignores her. Then she hears a familiar voice.
The android releases her and flips her on her back. He then takes off her hood. He actually looks confused and maybe slightly sympathetic? But he’s unfazed by the glare she sends him. She doesn’t blame him. She probably looks pathetic.
She should never have left her bed.